Vegetarian Paella and Travel

I’m up early, so you get a blog entry before I hit the road. We’re off to Washington DC for a few days for my annual family get-together around the Myron M. Weinstein Memorial Lecture. Some years we fly, some years we drive. This year, we’re driving. It’s a long drive, but we like the time together in the car once in awhile (we used to do it twice a year back and forth to Minneapolis when we were in grad school) and the drive is mostly beautiful, at least until we get to New Jersey. The long drive at the end of school is a good head-clearing exercise as well. And we’ve got a lot of head-clearing to do.

In the meantime, here’s a recipe for vegetarian paella. It’s not really much like paella I’ve had a Spanish restaurants, it’s somewhere between Spanish-themed risotto and paella. But it was a hit at our end-of-term student potluck last weekend. We doubled the amounts. The recipe is lightly adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook

Vegetarian Paella

Olive Oil for stir-frying
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves, crushed
½tsp red chile flakes
2tsp salt
1Tbsp chili power (yes, that’s a tablespoon)
1Tbsp sweet paprika (ditto)
2tsp minced thyme
2tsp minced oregano (we use Mexican)
2 large red and yellow peppers
1 can chopped tomatoes, with juice
1.25 cups arborio rice
3 cups vegetable stock
½ lb asparagus or green beans (I prefer the asparagus; we couldn’t find either in good condition for the party version and left them both out)
cracked pepper
½ bunch Italian parsley
1 bunch scallions
parmeggiano reggiano

We strongly recommend making this dish in a cast iron skillet or pot.

Heat the stock so it’s ready at hand. Measure out all the spices so they’re ready too. Heat the oil and sauté the onion and bell pepper until cooked. When finished, add the garlic and tomato. Add salt and spices, then stir in the rice and coat well.

Add the 3 cups of stock, cover, bring to a boil and the simmer on low, covered for about 30 minutes.

Steam the asparagus or green beans until tender.

Stir in the asparagus, parsley, scallions and parmeggiano reggiano into the cooked risotto. Serve.